Keep Showing Up | Karen Ehman

Summary of: Keep Showing Up: How to Be Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy
By: Karen Ehman


Modern married life is often fraught with unrealistic expectations, fueled by idyllic social media posts and Hollywood’s distorted perspective on love. ‘Keep Showing Up’ by Karen Ehman addresses these misconceptions by offering guidance on the essential skills and mindset shifts required for maintaining a vibrant and enduring marriage. The book reminds readers that a successful marriage takes commitment, sacrifice, and hard work from both partners. Ehman uses biblical passages to explore key themes such as the importance of realistic expectations, understanding that ‘different’ doesn’t mean ‘wrong’, and acknowledging that love will evolve over time in a relationship.

Realistic Expectations for Marriage

Our unrealistic expectations of marriage affect our relationships in the long run, and we need to accept that marriage is a difficult, long-term project that requires teamwork and selflessness.

We often see marriage as a bed of roses, thanks to social media, Hollywood, and our own unrealistic expectations. However, marriage is more than just a romantic relationship; it’s a partnership that requires a lot of work, dedication, patience, and selflessness. A successful marriage cannot be about just one partner; both partners have to be willing to work together and grow together.

In many cases, we look at our marriages solely from our own point of view, which is a mistake. Marriage is an equal partnership between two people, just like Eve was created from Adam’s rib, showing that they were meant to be equal partners. In other words, both partners need to work at it to make it work. The purpose of marriage, as stated in The Bible, is to illustrate the relationship between Jesus and the church—in other words, a selfless, monogamous, and complementary relationship.

Despite all these, we continue to have unrealistic expectations of marriage, which affects our relationships in the long run. The media portrays marriage as a quick fix to all of life’s problems, and divorces are made to look like an easy way out. This reinforces our false ideas about marriage and makes us forget that its success requires hard work. We need to start accepting that marriage is a difficult, long-term project that requires teamwork, selflessness, and a willingness to grow together.

In conclusion, having realistic expectations and working hard towards the success of our marriages is the only way to enjoy the fruits of a good partnership.

Embrace Differences in Marriage

In marriage, differences should be embraced and used as opportunities for growth. “Different” does not always mean “wrong.” Communication and understanding are key to resolving conflicts and building a strong partnership.

The Forms of Love in Marriage

Love takes on different forms, but the key to a healthy and lasting marriage is rooted in unconditional love.

Love is a complex and multifaceted emotion that takes on various forms. In the New Testament, the Greeks identified four types of love. The first form is passionate love, which is what we experience in the early stages of a relationship. This form of love is ephemeral and centered on self-gratification. Nevertheless, it is an indispensable part of the marriage journey.

The second form of love is friendship or brotherly love. It is void of selfish interests but grows through mutual care and support. It is conditional and based on reciprocation, which is essential in any healthy relationship, especially in marriages.

Familial love is the third form of love that characterizes the bond between family members. This form of love is unconditional and comes naturally, whether we appreciate it or not. However, when we allow our marriage to stagnate here, it can be detrimental, leading to a loveless marriage.

The fourth form of love is unconditional love that originates from God. This kind of love is selfless, forgiving, and exhibits no self-interests. It demands that we love our spouse regardless of their flaws and imperfections.

Marriage is a long-term journey that requires immense dedication and hard work. During challenging times, we can draw strength and inspiration from the beginning of our relationship. We must also consider our future and strive for unconditional love.

When we recall our wedding day, we were kind and loving to our spouse. These moments inspire us to model our actions every day. We also need to consider our last day on Earth and the actions we take in our marriage to avoid regret. Instead, focus on making decisions that advance unconditional love in your marriage and overcome the difficulties that life throws your way.

Reframing Marriage Challenges

Instead of dwelling on the bad times, intentionally focusing on the good times can allow us to reframe the bad times in a fresh and different light. The key message here is to focus on our spouse’s positive attributes and the many day-to-day blessings we take for granted.

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